I Thought The Point Was The Oil?

At least that’s what I learned from all the “no blood for oil” bumper stickers. It seems to me we’ve given some blood, so let’s get that oil flowing

A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say.
The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts’ announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush administration in deals to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism.

You would think that as the bastion of evil capitalism in the world we might have some useful experience on drawing up contracts…and honoring them.

Though enriched by high prices, the companies are starved for new oil fields. The United States government, too, has eagerly encouraged investment anywhere in the world that could provide new oil to alleviate the exceptionally tight global supply, which is a cause of high prices.

“Anywhere” being defined as “anywhere outside the US where we can get screwed by other countries.”

But any perception of American meddling in Iraq’s oil policies threatens to inflame opinion against the United States, particularly in Arab nations that are skeptical of American intentions in Iraq, which has the third-largest oil reserves in the world.

Oh no! The Arab Street will suddenly lose their love and great affection for us! Forsooth!

“We pretend it is not a centerpiece of our motivation, yet we keep confirming that it is,” Frederick D. Barton, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said in a telephone interview. “And we undermine our own veracity by citing issues like sovereignty, when we have our hands right in the middle of it.”

Yes, it’s such a “centerpiece” that it’s taken us over 5 years to get around to it.

The advisers say they were not involved in advancing the oil companies’ interests, but rather treated the Oil Ministry as a client, the State Department official said. “I do not see this as a conflict of interest,” he said. A potential area of criticism, however, is that only Western companies got the bigger oil contracts. In particular, Russian companies that have experience in Iraq and had sought development contracts are still waiting.

The Russians have far too much experience and involvement with Saddam. Bummer for them.

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